Symprove Trial

I’ve struggled with my digestion/stomach issues for a few years now and after taking a pretty horrid acne drug, eventually, I decided to seek advice from a nutritionist to get some help. She recommended a few changes to my diet alongside probiotics. I’d heard about probiotics and the benefits from them but it wasn’t something I ever considered or investigated further. I was recommended a brand and started there.

After years on that same probiotic, I started to notice I wasn’t experience the same benefits I once had from them. After doing a bit of reading and research, I decided maybe it was time for change, and that’s when Symprove popped into my head. I’ve followed them for years on social media and have many, many friends/followers who use it and highly recommended it. I was kindly gifted a box of 4 bottles and excited to give it a go!

If you didn’t know, Symprove is a water based formula derived from germinated barley, is “packed full of live, active bacteria”, suitable for vegans and vegetarians as it’s dairy and gluten free, and comes in two flavours – original and Mango and Passion Fruit. Best kept in the fridge, it differs from other probiotics because its water based and built to survive the harsh environment of the stomach by entering the gut alive. It then thrives and multiples to help support the microbiome and balance the bacteria in the gut.

I’ve been taking Symprove for over a month now and I’ve definitely got some mixed feelings about it. I want to be honest, not only to my readers, but to the brand too. I feel it’s important to be open and also acknowledge the fact that what may work for one person, doesn’t always work for another.

After a few days of taking it, I noticed my stomach wasn’t happy and I thought this may happen. I stuck with it and continued to take it every morning before breakfast. Now, rookie error on my part, I asked for the original flavour, and I won’t lie, it doesn’t have the nicest of tastes…It reminds me of a flavourless kombucha. Knowing they have a flavoured option, I should have gone for that! That aside, after a few weeks, my stomach really wasn’t happy still. I just put it down to the change and possibility that this was stronger than my previous probiotics but having stuck with it a few more weeks, I decided to stop. I couldn’t take how uncomfortable it made me feel. I just felt quite icky all the time, constantly in the bathroom, bloated and just not happy.

I’m super, super grateful to Symprove for kindly sending me their product to try. The experience was good, I’m glad I’ve tried something new but I feel I’ll be heading back to the drawing board and to do some more research.

A massive thank you, again, to Symprove. I will continue to follow and support you on social media and I’m happy to share my experience and answer any questions that anyone has about their product!

Thanks for reading and hope you had a lovely weekend in the last of the summer sun!

Emma xx

Happenings 26.7.20

I’m sorry it’s been a while since I have posted on here. To be honest, I sort of lost my ability to focus and sit down to write plus not knowing what to write. So I looked back at a few favourite bloggers and remembered one of my favourite posts I like to do. Inspired, as always, by Heidi. Enjoy!

DOING: Sat in the kitchen, at the dining table with mum, who’s sewing away making masks.

HEARING: The radio and the sewing machine.

DRINKING: Water. I have a headache, possibly from too much coffee or the lack of water 😬

EATING + COOKING: Even though lockdown has been lifted more and things seem to be returning to “normal”, we’ve still continued to buy from our small collection of local businesses we’ve supported since the start of lockdown. So whatever we choose or get in our vegetable box, we tend to make meals with that produce in. I’ve craved steamed vegetables and fish or chicken, mostly, the past few days. A sign I need to up my protein in take! I’ve also been baking, recently making a Delia Smith Ginger loaf and of course, a few number of sourdough loaves a day!

WANTING: So much….like everyone, I want my normal life back, even though it’ll never be what it was. Little events have happened recently that have been enough to make life feel more normal again, which has been really nice. Also wanting a routine, which brings me to the next paragraph…

LOOKING: For a job, a nannying job. After a few bumps in the road, it’s apparent I need to redo my GCSE Maths. So I’ll hopefully be taking a course and able to work alongside it. I’m hoping….if I ever hear back from them, that is…

DECIDING: My future…alongside the course, my next step in my life/career is very much undecided. I need to sit and think quite hard, about what I do next, because I’m not entirely sure.

ENJOYING: Being back at the hub for both PT and classes and running with friends again!!! I loved workout at home but I couldn’t do it forever. The hub has been massively rearranged by Laura to make sure we adhere to the social distancing rules, there’s copious amounts of hand sanitiser around and the way we enter and leave has also been altered.

WATCHING: A lot on Netflix recently – I LOVED ‘The Kissing Booth’ and the second one, ‘After’, and of course, Gilmore Girls (which I’m still working my way through and am not leaving it until I’ve finished it!!)

READING: Actually nothing at the moment. I finished my Jodi Picoult book and dip in and out of my midwifery book, but otherwise that’s it. I need to find another book, so any recommendations welcome!

WEARING: Gym clothes….😬 ALTHOUGH, I did get dressed up for my aunts birthday on Friday, which was really nice! If not gym wear, then cozy, slouchy clothes it is, because, why not?!!!

BUYING: Nothing…except essentials. Very aware of my outgoings at the moment but there is nothing I need and I’m quite content with that. For now, I’m happy surfing the web and dreaming of the beautiful summer dresses I could own!

CRAVING: Wild salmon sweet potato cakes from the “Run Fast Eat Slow” cookbook, which I can’t recommend enough for all! We had them for supper Sunday night and I had the leftovers for my supper on Monday. There is also a second cookbook, which I prefer slightly, but the first one does have some gems in it!

PLAYING: Bat and ball with emails and agencies and other people…I’ve found myself watching and refreshing my emails all day, everyday, for the past few weeks and it’s getting a tad boring… I understand we are in a difficult time right now but i just feel like I take one step forward then two steps back…

PLANNING: My week…I have a few appointments and runs planned with friends, otherwise it’s waiting for emails and job information.

SAVOURING: The time I have off/at home. I’ll be back to work soon, I hope anyway, so I’m making the most of the last few days/week at home.

LOVING: Netflix! I very nearly cancelled my subscription before lockdown but I’m SO glad I didn’t! There have been some great films, documentaries and series and some of my faves are coming back, which I’m excited about! My post long run plans involve my bed, snacks and Netflix – heaven!

FEELING: Unsure…about a lot of things. My job/career, future, of what’s going on in the world and where we will be, as a country, in a few weeks/months time. Trying to stay positive and take everyday as it comes. A start and all I can do right now.

As always, thank you for reading, and hope you enjoyed a little update! Post inspired by Heidi.

Hope you are all having a good week and happy reading!

Emma xx

New Brooks Glycerin 18 Road Shoes

Last Friday afternoon, a surprise box arrived from Brooks, and inside were the beautiful new Glycerin 18 road shoes, along with some new kit! With the shoes tied to the top of the box, I lifted it off and out floated balloons to reveal the rest of what was inside. I have to take my hat off to Brooks for this package, because they nailed it on the creative side!

Described as being “the perfect shoe for road runners who believe there is no such thing as too much cushioning” and made with more DNA loft, they are both soft and comfortable but without feeling overly cushioned. Making you feel like you are floating in them as you run – and they did just that!

On Sunday morning, I laced up and headed out for 6 quiet and much needed miles to test both the shoes and kit. The shoes are super comfortable and very light! They remind me of how the Adrenaline GTS feel, cushioning wise, but a lot light and I’m considering making them my long run shoe! I was also pleasantly surprised by how comfortable, flattering and fitting the kit is – especially the shorts! I’ve only ever ran in compression like shorts but these, the Chaser 5”, have certainly changed my thoughts on future short purchases. Comfortable enough around the waist, without hugging too tight and staying put, they are made from the lightest of fabric and I’m very tempted to buy another pair or two because I have a feeling I am going to be living in them for the rest of the summer!

If you’d like to get your hands on the new Glycerin 18, they will be available from today, 1st July, online and in all retainers worldwide!

A big thank you to Brooks for kindly gifting me the kit and shoes!

Happy running everyone!

Emma xx

Local businesses I’ve been supporting throughout lockdown

I hold my hand up high and admit I was one of the very many who panic bought at the beginning of lockdown. Now I think back, all but a few of my Waitrose purchases were quite mindless and random – I’d definitely got caught in the panic buy circle!

What I then found quite hard to see, were the local businesses/cafes/restaurants that I love, support and spend my time at, start closing their doors. I was worried for them and upset. What the next few weeks and months held for them, for everyone, was completely unknown. So that’s when I turned my focus to supporting and doing what I could to help them. I started purchasing from them, sharing on social media and by word of mouth. We were still lucky enough to be getting a weekly delivery from Ocado, which we had signed up to and been using for years. We were very mindful with what we purchased and got what we couldn’t get locally.

Here are a few of my favourite local cafes and businesses I’ve been supporting though these hard times.

Geo Cafe

A cafe I’d been visiting for years, which had changed owners not long ago, bringing a Georgian theme to the cafe and centre of Caversham. Continuing to sell freshly baked homemade sourdough bread, delicious breakfast and lunch dishes and a range of yummy cakes both vegan and not. Before and then when lockdown hit, they were offering takeaway coffee, baked goods and bread, alongside eggs and fruit and vegetable boxes. The vegetable boxes have been a wonderful hit in our house and we have bought many, using them to base our weekly meals around. Full of variety every week and so fresh and delicious. They’ve really grown as a cafe over the past few months, you can now order online, add eggs and bread to your order and also pop by and pick up a range of fresh produce from the stall outside! Check them out here!

Dudmans Of Berkshire

Now I had not come across this independent wholesale grocer until I was browsing the local community Facebook page. Strange as they are literally a 10 minute drive from me. Someone had posted about their fresh fruit and I decided to look at their website and what they offered. Vegetable and fruit boxes available for delivery or you could pop down and pick what you wanted. The set up was so colourful and my eyes were in heaven! The colour and freshness of the produce shined, the staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, adhering to the 2 metre distancing rules, using gloves and enabling a safe and easy shopping experience. And at a great price! I’ve mostly bought fruit, especially strawberries, from them, but it all tastes so fresh and delicious. If you are close, I definitely recommend you get there early in the morning, around 9am, to beat the rush! You can find more information by visiting their website here.

Berries Coffee Shop

Now to the important stuff – coffee! Never have I been so thankful, or used our bean to cup coffee machine, as much as I have since lockdown!! Berries, located in Henley, is a relatively new and special coffee shop, mainly because they roast their own beans! When lockdown hit, they quickly closed their doors and offered a delivery service. By buying their beans, we were able to support them and continue to enjoy the essential cup, or two, of coffee at home! Since lockdown has been eased, they’ve opened up again, serving baked goods, wraps, sandwiches etc. There is ALWAYS a queue outside and one I am prepared to wait in!

Pierreponts Cafe

A family run cafe, in a village I adore, which I’ve been visiting for years. So popular that you have to book at the weekend if you want to eat in, or be prepared to sit outside and brave whatever the British weather brings on the day! Initially closing their doors and kitchen, they bounced back after a few weeks, offering “fill your freezer” meals and baked goods for collection – changing weekly, all can be ordered from their social media pages or website. We purchased a few and boy were they delicious – I had a Thai chicken curry and my parents had a beef dish and a vegetable lasagna – perfect for an evening when we didn’t fancy cooking. Since a few weeks ago, they’ve opened up their hatch again to serve coffee, their popular jam doughnuts, my favourite, their vegan granola bar! Plus much more! I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked if it’s on their counter or begged for it to be made…! Steph and Phil are probably sick of me asking for it! It’s been lovely to see them open again and a real treat after a long walk by the river, which has become a regular occurrence on a Friday. Thank you guys for reopening and bring your smiles and positivity!

The Collective

A new cafe to Caversham and I have to take my hat off to them for opening during this weird time. However, from the looks and visiting myself, they’ve been doing amazing and the support from the local community has been incredible. Nestled just out of the centre of the town, this cafe is beautiful. Light, airy, clean and welcoming, they offer a range of sweet and savoury baked goods, coffee, local eggs, fresh bread and a selection of gifts and cards. I’ve visited twice, once on their first weekend and more recently, taking Charlie with me after our run. I look forward to visiting more and being able to sit in and enjoy brunch when we are allowed to do so. Check out their website and find out more about them, here!

Lastly, if you are in the Henley area, check out The Henley Basket. An online support website where you can order takeaway, food and much more from local businesses, cafes and restaurants in Henley. With safe collection, I think it’s a great idea to keep the small independent businesses open! You can find out more about it by going to the website!

I want to thank all of these local businesses and cafes for opening back up, safely, to the community. It’s been so lovely to see you all so positive, smiley and keeping spirits high during these uncertain times.

I hope you’ve all had a good week and weekend, hopefully we are one step closer to being out of this. For now, take care and sending much love to you all!

Emma xx

My Lockdown Bakes

I’ve always loved baking. I absolutely love it, I find it really therapeutic and enjoy loosing myself in a recipe. Before lockdown, my baking was pretty basic and consisted of cakes, cupcakes (mostly with the girls I looked after) and brownies. Since lockdown, oh how things have changed!

For my birthday, I was given the most beautiful cookbook from a friend, called ‘Aran‘. A bakery in Highland Perthshire, Scotland, where they bake an assortment of breads, cakes, pastries, delicious tarts alongside salads, and all these recipes can be found in the book.

Having been kindly gifted some sourdough starter from another friend and with my new cookbook to guide me, my bread baking especially, really took off. I never thought I could bake bread, let alone sourdough. It seemed “too hard”, too many steps and after a failed attempt a year ago, I decided it wasn’t for me. However, I’m so glad that I have persevered with this starter because I have really found something I love doing and genuinely have a passion for. It hasn’t been easy and it has taken many, many failed attempts but I feel like I have finally mastered it.

Now with bread and other types of flour being quite hard to source, I’ve only made the Classic Sourdough (definitely the most used recipe/page in the book) and a ‘porridge loaf’, but my next challenge is to find some rye and spelt flour so I can start making some mixed loaves and really experiment with flavours and texture.

Alongside bread, I’ve also found other ways of using my starter. I recently stumbled across Izy Hossack, and her blog ‘Top with Cinnamon’, through Charl, who I follow on Instagram. Izy opened a whole new chapter of sourdough baking for me with her recipes ranging from brownies to focaccia, I was excited to be able to make more yummy goodies using my starter. My current and favourite recipe from Izy, is her sourdough brownies – which I’ve linked here. I actually can’t count the number of times I’ve made them, for both my parents and friends, because they are so easy and taste incredible! She also has a vegan sourdough brownie recipe, which is on top of my list to bake next, along with sourdough banana bread!

With my sweet tooth satisfied, I really wanted to try something I love – sourdough pizza! When we were put into lockdown, and restaurants had closed their doors and stopped takeaways, I instantly saved the Franco Manca’s sourdough pizza recipe, that they shared on their blog. Again, I remember reading it and thinking how much time it required, time I had, but didn’t think I could pull off. I must have read it a number of times before finally biting the bullet and deciding to give it a go. After working out timings, it required me to start it at 3am to eat the following evening, something I wasn’t quite prepared to do. So, I asked my friend Anders, who’s a a baker, and he said it would definitely be doable in one day.

So, that Saturday morning at 6am, I got up and started making the dough. I made a coffee, prepared everything and once I’d given it a mix, let it sit for an hour and turned it once, it was time to leave it until late afternoon to start cooking. Actually easier than I thought! In the cooking instructions, they suggested a few ways of cooking the dough, and we found baking it on the a stone at the same temperature I bake the bread, worked the best. We did try frying one of the bases but it didn’t cook as well, it came out quite thick and too doughy, but my dad happily munched it away!!

I won’t lie, once they came out of the oven, I squealed in excitement and couldn’t wait to tuck in! I even had leftovers, so dropped some at Charlie’s doorstep for her and Tom to enjoy!

Along with lots of sourdough themed bakes, I’ve also enjoyed cooking a huge selection of dishes for suppers. Again, a time for me to switch off for a bit and enjoy a new recipe, using new flavours and ingredients we wouldn’t normally choose.

I dream of working in a bakery and putting my skills to use and bake for others. I’ve been inspired by Kitty and her dad, who own a local bakery called The Orange Bakery. Selling sourdough loaves, cakes, pastries and so much more, all made in a bake house in their back garden! She’s such a sweet young lady, her dad is incredibly kind, and they both inspire me daily to keep going with my baking.

Lastly, I recently found and have fallen in love with Bryan Ford. His Instagram, which makes my eyes light up, along with his blog full of sourdough bread recipes, inspires me to want to try pastries – croissants especially! He’s also got a book out in a couple of weeks, which I’m excited about!

Once I’m back at work, I definitely won’t stop my baking and cooking. I enjoy it too much to stop and I’m too stubborn to let a recipe get the better of me!!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a slightly different post and that it inspires you to pick up a wooden spoon this weekend!

Much love and thank you for reading,

Emma xx